STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Jalen Milroe was efficient at quarterback for No. 12 Alabama and the Crimson Tide scored touchdowns off two first-half interceptions in a 40-17 victory over Mississippi State on Saturday night.
Milroe completed his first eight passes and ended up 10 of 12 for 164 yards. He ran 11 times for 69 yards and two touchdowns — opening the scoring on a 53-yard scamper — to help Alabama (4-1, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) to its 16th straight victory over the Bulldogs (2-3, 0-3).
Mississippi State’s Will Rogers was 15 of 26 for 107 yards and a touchdown with three interceptions.
“We set goals for ourselves prior to the season starting, and those goals are still there,” Milroe said. “That’s the biggest thing. We’re trying to accomplish those.
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Chris Braswell returned one of Rogers’ interceptions 28 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter. With Mississippi State trailing 24-10 in the final seconds of the first half, Rogers threw his second and gave Alabama a short field that MIlroe took advantage of to score of the second of his touchdown runs.
“You’re not going to beat a whole lot of good football teams when you give up a touchdown and then have an opportunity for a 2 minute drill and throw an interception to give up a short field,” Bulldogs coach Zach Arnett said. “That was a poor job by the head coach. We should have taken a knee there.”
Mississippi State cut it to 17-10 in the first half, then was outscored 23-7.
Rogers’ touchdown pass to running back Jeffery Pittman in the third quarter was the first for a Bulldogs quarterback against Alabama since Dak Prescott threw one to Jameon Lewis in 2014. It was the first touchdown pass in Starkville since 2011.
Alabama finished with 335 yards of total offense in a balanced attack that included 171 yards on the ground. Jase McClellan had 15 carries for 63 yards and a score to compliment Milroe.
“There’s a lot of things that we think we can improve on. But I also think there’s a lot of good things that we need to build on,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “There are signs of the way we played in the second half against Ole Miss and times that we played in this game where we just got to build on that. We’re not where we want to be, we’re not where we need to be.”
The Bulldogs had 261 yards of total offense and were sacked four times.
Alabama: Last week’s victory over Ole Miss cemented Milroe as the starter and he had another good game Saturday. With LSU’s loss to the Rebels, Bama is in the pole position as one of the teams to beat in the SEC West.
Mississippi State: It was another game in a long line of blowouts for the Bulldogs against Alabama.
Alabama: Hosts Arkansas on Oct. 14
Mississippi State: Hosts Western Michigan on Saturday.
AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll